13 January 11 The Straits Times
People who have had strokes caused by bleeding in the brain should avoid taking cholesterol-lowering drugs known as statins, United States researchers said this week.
Although statins are commonly used to prevent heart attacks and strokes, they said the drugs could increase the risk of a second stroke in these patients, outweighing any heart benefits from the drugs.
'Our analysis indicates that in settings of high recurrent intra-cerebral haemorrhage risk, avoiding statin therapy may be preferred, Dr Brandon Westover of Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School and his colleagues wrote in the Archives Of Neurology.
This was especially true of people who had strokes in one of the brain's four lobes - frontal, parietal, temporal or occipital. Recurrence of these strokes is more frequent than those that occur deep in the brain.
Dr Westover said people who have had this type of stroke have a 22 per cent risk of a second stroke when they take statins, compared with a
14 per cent risk in people who are not taking the drugs. The findings are based on a mathematical model culled from data collected from two clinical trials.
The researchers said it is not clear how statins increase the bleeding risk in these patients. It may be that having low cholesterol increases the risk of bleeding in the brain or it may be that statins affect clotting factors in the blood that increase the risk of a brain haemorrhage in these patients.
People who had a stroke in one of te brain's four lobes have a 22% risk of a seconf risk when they take stains